USA Takes World Cup Lead

By Mercer BaggsDecember 9, 2000, 5:00 pm
It took three rounds, but the U.S. is finally where everyone expected them to be at the WGC-EMC World Cup - at the top of the leaderboard.
An aggressive tandem of Tiger Woods and David Duval fired a better-ball 12-under-par 60, Saturday at the Buenos Aires Golf Club, to take a three-shot lead at 30-under over New Zealand and the host team, Argentina.
For the third consecutive day, the New Zealand team of Greg Turner and Frank Nobilo, and Argentines Eduardo Romero and Angel Cabrera posted matching scores. The two teams have each carded rounds of 57-67-65. The first two scores were good enough for a share of the lead; however, Saturday's 65s were not.
Playing the four-ball format for the second time in three days, the Americans bettered their opening 61 by a stroke on Day 3. For the first time this week, Duval and Woods came out strong, birdying four of their first six holes.
The two made the turn in 5-under-par 31, and then added a pair of birdies at the 10th and 12th holes to move to 25-under for the tournament, thus tying them with New Zealand for the lead.
An eagle 3 at the par-5 14th, courtesy Woods, gave the U.S. their first outright lead all week at 27-under. And though the Kiwis did manage to birdie the 14th and 15th holes to temporarily close the gap, the Americans birdied each of their final three holes to finish the day with a three-shot cushion.
'We kind of bailed each other out,' said Woods, who twice found the water on Saturday. 'And that's what you need to do in this type of format.'
Added Duval: 'I think that the format lends itself to really feeling like you can make up for errors on the other half of the team.'
Once again, New Zealand got off to a positive start, and then stagnated over the back nine. Turner and Nobilo matched the American's 31 on the front side, but only managed the aforementioned pair of birdies on the inward half.
Saturday's better-ball back-nine was a stark contrast to what the Kiwis produced on Thursday. In the first round, Turner and Nobilo combined to play the seven-hole stretch of 11-17 in 8-under-par.
While the Americans were surging on Saturday, the Argentines remained stationary for the better part of the front nine. Cabrera and Romero didn't collect their first birdie of the day until the par-5 6th.
The local favorites did manage to record four more birdies over their next eight holes, but it wasn't until Cabrera almost double-eagled the par-4 17th that the Argentines vaulted back into contention.
Cabrera nearly holed his second shot to the 574-yard hole, and then converted the short eagle to take his team to 27-under-par, where they finished the day. Argentina will play in the penultimate group in the final round with Mike Weir and Glen Hnatiuk of Canada, who are nine shots off the lead at 21-under. The U.S. and New Zealand will play in the final foursome.
'Today we were not very lucky,' Romero said. 'We had many putts that should have gone in but went out, and we can change that tomorrow.'
Foursomes (alternate shot) will again be the format on Sunday. Friday, the U.S. carded an alternate-shot 65, while New Zealand and Argentina each posted 67s. The winning team will earn $1 million.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.